“I know all about guitar players – I’ve seen the very best,” Gregg Allman once said about his longtime music director, Scott Sharrard. “He understands that you don’t need to play just for the sake of playing…he leaves plenty of room for everyone else to do their thing, but when it’s time to solo, Scott delivers, boy.”
“These guys are legends and heroes of ours who have played on so many life-changing records,” Sharrard says. “This record was steeped in the best the South has to offer. We cut the rhythm section and lead vocals live on the floor, direct to tape. Old school. We let the songs and the band speak. We also had some of the best barbecue and soul food you could ever imagine, and a lot of laughs and good times with our heroes. How can you lose?”
Born on the day his hero Freddie King died, Sharrard’s travels to the heart of the American South began as a teenager in Milwaukee, surrounded by Mel Rhyne, Buddy Miles, Hubert Sumlin, Luther Allison and Clyde Stubblefield. “They were our local bar bands!” Scott remembers. “All those cats schooled me in different ways, backstage, on gigs and at jams.”
Sharrard was mentored by powerhouse ‘Chitlin’ Circuit’ singer and guitarist Willie Higgins, and a local, one-named legend, Stokes. Sharrard soon graduated to occasional dates in Chicago, learning alongside two fabled Muddy Waters sidemen, drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith and pianist Pinetop Perkins.
“I grew up on the music of the Allman Brothers,” says Sharrard. “I consider first hearing them to be the ‘Big Bang’ moment for me as a pre-teen. I’ve always been chasing what I like to call ‘Real Rock and Roll,’ a blend of blues, jazz, soul, country and folk – with the central goal being to create an original sound of your own. In that respect, working with Gregg just solidified everything I’ve believed since I was a kid.”
Allman covered Sharrard’s “Love Like Kerosene” on 2015’s Gregg Allman Live: Back to Macon, GA, and again on his final solo album, the posthumous, Grammy-nominated Southern Blood, featuring their Grammy-nominated, Best Americana Song co-write, “My Only True Friend.”
“Gregg had a pure passion and heart,” Sharrard says of his friend, “especially when it came to being a musician. That authenticity and dedication is a daily inspiration, and I will always carry that with me onstage and in the studio. Gregg always said ‘the way you could do me most proud is to use our experience and let it inspire you to write your own beautiful music.’ ”
Saving Grace was released September 28 on We Save Music